In the future, people spend all their time playing VR first-person video games in the platform called OASIS, created by the late Halliday who promised ownership of the platform to anyone who can find three Easter eggs. Nobody had any luck, until teenager Wade Watts, using the avatar Parzival, drove backwards with his car and found the first key. He is persecuted by Nolan, the CEO of IOI who wants to take over OASIS. Teaming up with Samantha, Helen, Zhou and Toshiro, Wade is able to find the last key and take over OASIS, while Nolan is arrested by the police.
“Ready Player One” is an example of modern “excessive cinema” in which the viewers are bombarded with hyper-CGI and scenes, almost as if the public is treated that they have ADHD, and it is only thanks to the skills of classic director Steven Spielberg that he is able to keep this from falling apart, by actually telling a more-or-less coherent story. As an unwritten rule goes, scenes of video games are not that cinematic, and since almost 3/4 of the film plays out in this VR format, it inevitably becomes exhausting and oversaturated. Spielberg was able to secure rights for numerous movies and TV shows, and thus the film abounds with over a hundred movie references (“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”, “The Iron Giant”, “Back to the Future”, “Jurassic Park”...), while Spielberg again showed that he still has some sense for further innovation in the overwhelmingly genius metafilm sequence where the avatars of the characters find themselves inside the movie “The Shining”, with new scenes that almost seem as if they expand the said movie and give it new angles. The stakes of the story are unfortunately weak: two sides are competing for the ownership of the video game platform, but if the worst thing that would happen in case the “bad guy” Nolan wins is that there would be adds, then what’s all the fuss about? It simply is too trivial to root for the hero Wade as if he is saving the world. Too much techno-overkill, too little emotions, though Spielberg does give a neat secret message at the end in which the old Halliday admits that spending your entire existence on video games is a waste of a life when he says that only reality is real.